The utilisation of the supporter spirit in cricket activations

Posted: April 18, 2016

Cricket supportersThe 2015/2016 Sunfoil English Test Cricket Series, which comprised four Five-Day Test Series matches, concluded at SuperSport Park in Pretoria earlier this year. For the team from Y&R SA’s Durban office, who executed the stadium activations on behalf of their client, Sunfoil cooking oil, it was a project that highlighted the unique nature of Activation as a marketing discipline within the sport and cricketing space.

Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria played host to the four Test matches that started on popular Boxing Day in Durban, and concluded in the last week of January in sunny Centurion. Spectators were thrilled from start to finish with not only “Jolly Lekker Cricket” on the field, but in-stadium engagement through Sunfoil giveaways, cook offs, taste test matches, cooking with the Proteas, TV inserts played on the stadium big screen, a Sunfoil Chill Zone, high tea and Sunfoil ‘Sizzlers’ – the brand’s on-the-ground ambassadors.

“In-stadium activations in the cricket world, when done right, are remarkably dynamic and exhilarating,” comments Lindsay Leppan, Managing Director of Y&R South Africa’s Durban office. “Every format of the game attracts a different crowd and demands a fresh strategic approach. With the Five-Day Test Series matches, we explored a variety of cooking-related tactics and themes to keep multiple-day visitors entertained and engaged. For example, we hosted Sunfoil High Teas during the tea breaks, where Sunfoil butlers distributed traditional high tea treats with an English and South African flavour, and filled the lunch hours with SA vs Eng Day 14 April 2016 where fellow spectators challenged each other to entertaining pressure tests, as well as creating the best traditional South African meals.”

“Signing a sponsorship deal of this nature is only part of the job. We feel that leveraging the sponsorship at strategic consumer touchpoints is the key to unlocking real value,” comments Shoaib Moosa, Chief Commercial Officer of Willowton Group, the manufacturers of Sunfoil.

“It is our aim that Sunfoil owns the cooking, food and family space within the cricket consumer’s mindset and it is important how we activate these strategic values within the stadium. Spectators walking away having engaged with the brand and having had a memorable experience, is key,” he adds.

Account Director Kathryn Taljaard, who assumed the role of Event Director for these activations, adds that it was remarkable to witness how agile passionate fans were, despite blistering countrywide heatwaves and summer showers. “There’s a collective supporter spirit that develops at a stadium during a series,” she explains. “Sport truly does have the ability to unite a nation and whether the Proteas were winning or losing… South Africans banned together in their cheering abilities to attempt to drone out the unwavering Barmy Army supporters. They didn’t always succeed, but the boys in green on the field heard their shouts of encouragement and that was priceless.”

Whether a fan was at the matches, watching on television or following the game via social media, the Sunfoil brand experience was the same thanks to an extensive digital campaign, which helped create a seamless transition between stadium, TV or mobile.

Lindsay Leppan concludes: “Through its Sunfoil brand, the Willowton Group is actively involved in the sponsorship and development of cricket in South Africa at a national and grass-roots level. For the English Test series, a donation of R850 000 was made to the Sunfoil Education Trust, which provides school bursaries and scholarships for selected children coming through the Sunfoil development cricket programmes. As their agency, Y&R South Africa appreciates their contribution to the game, and the unwavering supporter spirit that the agency can tap into when creating memorable brand experiences in the sports environment.